LOL, you know that feeling when you’re president and then you’re not, and then your privilege and preconceptions of race get in the way of treating your new chief of staff like a person, then you fight him, find a gun, consider killing yourself, you don’t, he comes back, and then you go find your onetime mistress, full-time love of your life and wait outside her apartment? No? Well, no one ever said Scandal was relatable, so.
But that’s where we’re at with Fitz and Curtis and Olivia and her smeared lipstick. Scandal! When Fitz shows up to ask for Olivia’s help with a case he’s working on with Marcus involving missing girls, Olivia is annoyed because she has Bashran! She has Mellie! She has that fresh man scent from Curtis lingering on her designer gown! She has things. And Fitz. Can’t. Have. Her. So she closes the door on him. They’re done, y’all.
Back at the White House, Mellie and Rashad are talking about how to get the ball rolling on making the world a little less nuclear, but they keep getting distracted because Bellamy Young is turning Rashad on, and honestly, may even be turning me straight. Bellamy Young is doing such fine work this season as president, and God, don’t you feel like she’s earned it? Olivia interrupts though, because if she’s not getting nookie, then NO ONE IS. Meanwhile, in Cyrus’ office, he’s back and forth on this damn bajillion-dollar painting his nemesis and suitor has left in his office. But the only solution is honestly for Cyrus to give the painting back…right? Right???
At QPA, they dive into the case of these missing girls because QPA is all about wearing the white hat again. These girls are all girls of color, and that’s part of the problem, because if a child isn’t white — an Elizabeth Smart or a JonBenét Ramsey — does anyone care? It’s a real problem, and it’s good to see Scandal stop being about the white guy president with a gun in Vermont and address what’s going on in the world. Olivia talks to Jake about it, but she’s not willing to budge…that’s why she went to Jake, right? Lord. Meanwhile, Fitz meets with Rowan, who says this case with the missing girls isn’t enough for Olivia. She has to fall in love with Fitz again because he is the cheese.
Cyrus heads over to Glackland’s place to discuss that painting, and it turns out there are a whole bunch of complications to keeping and returning the painting. Even though Glackland was AWFUL the first go-round, he’s incredibly charming this time. After the discussion, he invites Cyrus into his place to try out some Virtual Reality software, as older gay men are wont to do, and when the virtual glasses come off, they start getting real…Virtual Real World: Washington, D.C. They have a nice discussion about Cyrus’ career and Glackland’s obvious interest in him, and Glackland insists they do this on the regular. Politics and getting under Cyrus’ skin…Glackland slides his hand across Cyrus’ lap, but that’s enough to launch Cyrus into gear, and the VP realizes he needs to go.
Marcus stops by the White House to check on Mellie, but Olivia has no time for it. He shifts to the topic of the missing girls, but Olivia has no time for that either. As he exits, Olivia asks about Vermont, which Marcus says is “cold and white,” and when Olivia says she means Fitz, Marcus says, “Cold. White.” Marcus is the champion we don’t deserve. In that moment, they get personal — personal enough for Olivia to return to OPA, now QPA, and see all those girls on the window. So many that Olivia can’t take it in. But she does come with a plan: Put Zoe’s mother out there. It’s a lesson on how to make QPA, well, OPA.
As Olivia leaves, she runs into Fitz, who is apparently just out and about these days. He says they should get a drink, but Olivia rebuffs and says they should just see how the summit turns out. And the summit is tense. The prime minister of Dacal isn’t too pumped about turning over his nuclear powers, so he calls out Mellie and says he misses Fitz. And then he insinuates that maybe Mellie used her charms to influence his decision regarding relinquishing his nuclear weapons, which is enough to make President Rashad jump to her defense. The hoops women have to jump through are insane, guys. I mean, even Olivia calls out Mellie’s chemistry with President Rashad.
Anyway, QPA jumps into gear and sends Zoe’s mom out on the front lines. She goes onto Cyrus’ show with Old POTUS Fitz. She makes a good point, but Curtis then blasts Fitz and says that he ignored this issue. Fitz — newly woke and ready to, um, wake others? — decides to go on a tangent about race and the press. While that happens, Rashad and Mellie are having some hooch in the Oval, which is honestly my dream. They touch hands, and the chemistry is palpable, but Bashran! The nukes! The legacy. It’s all at stake, so Rashad leaves. (Recap continues on page 2)
Cyrus, sitting with Mellie, debates this Glackland situation. He insists he won’t lower his standards. That’s when Mellie explains that President Rashad is making her feel all tingly inside. But while she can do whatever she wants with whomever she wants, she doesn’t want to be the same as the men she’s always loathed. I feel you girl, but also, President Rashad is NOT bad. But it’s a nice moment for Mellie and Cy, to sit there in front of that painting and just kind of level with one another.
At Rowan’s office, he’s preserving dinosaur bones when Olivia stops by to chat. When she sits down for a nice croissant with Dad, she asks about him coming home way back when and talking about the museum when he was lying, and Rowan calls her out and says that she can’t have both, which is what she’s asking for. She insists she can and that B613 is DIFFERENT, but he insists otherwise. And even though he’s yelly and crazy, you have to love that he’s trying to be a good dad.
Anyway, Mellie sits down with Rashad and that other rival country of his, and they talk about chilling out on all that nuclear stuff. It sounds like they’ve come to an agreement when BASHRAN IS TAKEN IN A COUP. Rashad isn’t president anymore and, well, the Gladiators have hit the fan. Olivia is FREAKING out, but Jake isn’t having it; she had him following Fitz rather than doing his job, and that’s how this got past everyone. Mellie wants to send in the troops, but Olivia is 100 percent against it. Mellie insists they have to do this — otherwise they’d have to give him sanctuary — and that makes Olivia flip out again, partly because it means they go to war, but also because she’s projecting. Mellie is about to put a man before her job, just like Olivia is doing. This is a serious feminist manifesto. But here’s the thing: Mellie makes a point. Yes, she likes Rashad, but he also showed up to stop nuclear warfare. She’s fighting for what’s right.
So Olivia goes home and pours a hell of a lot of wine (I GET YOU GIRL) and is greeted by Fitz at her door. Fitz needs her help with those missing girls, but he also has feelings about Bashran, because of course he does. Olivia tells him to leave, but he’s not interested because he isn’t ready to go. He LOVES her; they’re better together. The next day when Olivia goes to see Madam President, Mellie cuts to the chase: What does Olivia want her to do? Olivia has prepared two briefs. Mellie admits that she has feelings for Rashad, but she is NOT a teenage girl writing in her diary.
Olivia backs her because she knows what Mellie’s here for. And she respects her. As a woman. As a president. As everything. And as Cyrus goes to visit his new potential (age-appropriate…is that offensive?) suitor and Quinn goes to tell that mom she can celebrate her daughter’s return, it all boils down to Rowan. You see, there’s some serious mischief going on, and Rowan’s putting in overtime to help, at least according to Jake’s findings. And that leads Olivia to show up.
Is she going to lean personal or professional with her work? Well, looking at that stool she kicks over to her dad when she tells him to sit down, it looks like “personal” is not a word that she’s looking to incorporate into her vocabulary right now.